Day 32-33, 2-3 March - Chitimba
A reasonably early start and short drive via Mzuzu to a lakeside beach at Chitimba, at the Chitimba Beach Camp. One of the most scenic drives in Malawi approaches the lakeshore with its long beaches, from the highlands which include the settlement of Livingstonia. The camp is pleasant, a regular stop for overland trucks. The lake appears like the sea here. Makoros line the shore, fishing nets 'dry' in the 'sun'. People wash and live from the lake all along the shore.
We undertook the drive to Livinstonia (4x4 'recommended') to see the place where the good Dr Livingstone took up residence, atop the closest mountain here. He must have had bad fever to scale this particular mountain in search of a cool, healthy spot. I wonder whether he ever came down again? Rather than a dull drive to an interesting place, we got a 30 km adrenalin trip up and down the mountain, with nothing much to report other than some old buildings at the mission station in Livingstonia. The 'road' up the mountain presented the most significant driving challenge of the trip so far, and one of the most scary drives that I have seen. A single vehicle only track with tightly packed hairpin bends that required even our short vehicle to reverse at some turns, slushy, slippery mud, sheer drops, rocks and boulders this has everything for those who like to play with their 4x4's. We would rather not, but once committed, it is really difficult to turn around, and one also always believes the 'it cannot be much further' idea (15km's there and 15km back). The trip down is every bit as bad as the trip up and most has to be done in low-range too. The views from the lush forests across the bluest lake to the mountains of Tanzania were stupendous though.
A Kuche Kuche (Malawi/carlsberg beer, besides the ubiquitous CarlsbergGreen) and some nachos at Chitimba beach bar settled the adrenaline and allow time for the blog and for the boys to join the young internationals (mainly Brits, this time) from the Dragoman overland group, for some beach volleyball.